Monday, November 15, 2004
Written by Jason Varney

FOUR RUNNERS AND COACH PUTNAM EARN NESCAC HONORS

MEDFORD--  The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Cross Country All-Conference Teams were announced, with four Tufts runners along with head coach Connie Putnam among this year's honorees.

Named to the All-NESCAC Men's Cross Country First Team for finishing in the top seven at the championship race were junior Matt Lacey (Amherst, MA/Amherst) who finished fourth, and sophomore Josh Kennedy (Guilford, CT/Hopkins School), who finished seventh overall.  Seniors Nate Brigham (Penacook, NH/Merrimack Valley) and Brian McNamara (Saratoga Springs, NY/ Saratoga Springs) garnered Second Team honors, finishing eighth and ninth in the conference race, respectively.  Head Coach Connie Putnam was named co-Coach of the Year for the 2004 season.

Lacey, who finished the conference championship in 25 minutes, 40.11 seconds (4.96 miles), was the top Tufts finisher in the October 30 race.  In the most important race to date, Lacey also led his team to victory in the NCAA New England Championship Race on November 13, leading all Jumbo finishers with a time of 26:09.5, good for sixth overall in the 8k race.  Other top finishes for Lacey include a third place performance in the 8k Jumbo Invitational on September 25 where he crossed the line with a time of 26:19, and a 25:18 finish at the 4.95 mile New England Championship, good for 21st place out of all collegiate runners in New England.

Last year's NESCAC Rookie of the Year, Kennedy joins Lacey on the conference First Team for the second consecutive year.  The sophomore finished the conference race in 25:45.52, rounding out the top seven finishers.  Kennedy finished right behind Lacey in the NCAA New England Championship (8k) this past weekend, coming in at 26:10.8 for seventh place.  Kennedy was the top Tufts finisher in the first meet of the season at Connecticut College, coming in fourth overall with a time of 25:38 (8k).

In his last year as Jumbo, senior McNamara earned All-NESCAC Second Team honors, finishing eighth overall in the conference race with a time of 25:46.97.  In the NCAA New England Championship Race on November 13, the senior finished in 26:40.9, good for 20th place overall, rounding out the Jumbo top five.  His best 8k finish came in the first race of the season, finishing 12th overall with a time of 26:04 in the September 11 meet at Connecticut College.

Tufts' fourth addition to the All-NESCAC list is senior Nate Brigham, who earned his spot by finishing ninth in the NESCAC Championship with a time of 25:48.45.  Brigham was the top Tufts finisher in several races throughout the 2004 season, finishing second overall at the Jumbo Invitational in 26:10, 20th overall in the New England Championship on October 8 in 25:18, and 12th overall in the 8k Twin Brook Invitational on October 16 in 27:37.93.  This past Saturday, Brigham was the third Tufts finisher in the NCAA New England Championship Race, running 26:22.4, good for 11th overall.

Leading the Jumbos through this incredibly successful season was Putnam, whose efforts did not go unnoticed at the conference level.  Putnam was named NESCAC co-Coach of the Year, after leading the Jumbos to their second consecutive NESCAC Championship.  Putnam shared this honor with Connecticut College head coach Jim Butler. He has also guided the Jumbos to back-to-back ECAC Division III and NCAA New England titles.

After winning the Regional Championship this past weekend, Tufts will go on to compete in the NCAA National Championship Race in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on November 20.  This is the sixth time in the past seven years that the Jumbos have qualified to compete at nationals.

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